Patients' pets killed in SARS war


DOGGONE IT: A woman carrying her pet dog as she walks along a street in Shanghai recently. China requires pet owners to pay stiff fees to own pets. - AFPpic

BEIJING: China is rounding up dogs and cats from SARS patients' homes and killing them for fear canines and felines will spread the deadly disease to humans, officials said yesterday.  

Although veterinary experts said there was no evidence SARS could be transmitted to humans from household animals, the furry beasts were nevertheless coming under suspicion. 

The Beijing city government recently issued an order for police to seize pets from homes where people had been infected with SARS, an official at the city's police department office in charge of pet control said.  

“Pets can spread diseases. People can take measures to prevent diseases being spread, but not pets,” said the official. 

“If a family has SARS and they have pets, we will kill the pets regardless of whether they show SARS symptoms.” 

Authorities had already found several dogs with SARS, said the official.  

“If we find any stray dogs or cats or if anyone make police reports about people illegally raising pets, we will catch the animals,” the official said. 

In Hangzhou, police recently netted 183 dogs, the China News Service said. Some of the pets were collected after owners called pet control officials, while others were abandoned by their owners, who became worried the animals could spread SARS. –AFP 

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